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[Pros & Cons] Xiaomi Redmi 5A, a Phone of Tradeoffs

There's no doubt that Xiaomi is taking over the market. The company keeps launching products that not only capture the imagination of the masses but also their credit card details. Such is the case of the companies latest budget phone to hit the market.

We're talking, of course, about the Xiaomi Redmi 5A, faithful successor to the immensely popular Redmi 4A that manages to keep a similar price whilst boosting substantial upgrades.

The new version comes with some serious upgrades though it still retains the essence of its predecessor as well as its "cozy" price point. In that regard, today we're going to take a detailed look at the pros and cons of the Xiaomi Redmi 5A, its advantages and disadvantages. Wanna tag along?

Xiaomi Redmi 5A, Advantages and disadvantages, Pros and Cons you can't neglect

Pros and cons of the Xiaomi Redmi 5A: Cons of the Xiaomi Redmi 5A

No Full HD display? Seriously?

Perhaps one of the most noticeable disadvantage of the Redmi 5A is the lack of a Full HD display. We get that this is a budget phone and all that but we've seen Full HD displays on far cheaper models, just sayin... To that effect, Xiaomi has placed an HD display instead with a standard 1280 by 720 pixel resolution. 

In their defense, we should mention that a lower resolution will inevitably help out in terms of battery life and when you're packing a 3000 mAh battery on an octa-core phone its handy to be able to squeeze out all the juice you can in a day instead of being forced to charge the phone by lunchtime.

It's not stock Android 

Many of us know and love Xiaomi's very own brand of Android personalization under the name "Miui" but not everyone will be the same. Some people would rather have a phone that delivers the stock Android experience and does without all the "fuss" involved in having a customized theme.

There's no NFC which means there are no mobile Payments

If there's one thing that most budget phones seem to have in common it's the lack of support for NFC technology. I will never understand why but I presume it all comes down to licensing fees. That said, as with most phones launched by Xiaomi, a big con of the Redmi 5A is the lack of an NFC chip. This basically means that you can't use this phone to do mobile payments.

For many people, this might be irrelevant but for those who like to be ahead of the curve or those who've already gotten used to this technology, not having NFC means there's something they're gonna have to give up from the moment they click "buy".

Internal storage is a bit tight

We've gotten used to many smartphones launching with 64 GB of default internal storage, especially at this price point. 64 is the new 32 GB. That said, Xiaomi opted to ignore this latest trend and in what is presumably an effort to keep prices low and margins high, the company has issued the Redmi 5A in two variants; 16 & 32 GB. 

Fortunately enough, we can expand upon that storage with the use of an external microSD card (without compromising the dual-SIM functionality) but had we been presented with a 64 GB variant then many of us would not even need to resort to external storage options.

No fingerprint sensor

We can understand that the company didn't want its products to "clash" with one another and therefore they have to present differences so as to not confuse the end user. That said, when 50 dollar phones have a fingerprint sensor it's very hard to justify the Xiaomi Redmi 5A not implementing one of its own and it definitely counts towards a big disadvantage of the Xiaomi Redmi 5A.

Sure enough, they didn't want to clash with other models but at this point, fingerprint sensors are simply basic and one has to be very deliberate to not find a phone that has this feature. Sorry, Xiaomi but that was not cool. 

Pros and cons of the Xiaomi Redmi 5A: Advantages of the Xiaomi Redmi 5A

Qualcomm Processor

While pretty much 99% of all smartphones that can be written off as "Chinese phones" pack a MediaTek processor, Xiaomi decided very early on that they wanted their own phones to implement the best mobile processors in the market. 

It's with that in mind that the company endowed its Redmi 5A, a budget phone, with a powerful octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor, the kind we'd typically find on more expensive Android handsets. 

It's no secret that Qualcomm processors are better than their MediaTek counterparts, offering a more fluid experience that typically expands the lifespan of these devices considerably over MediaTek phones.

A comfortable form factor

Of course, when it comes down to size, it all becomes quite subjective and whilst many people will opt for a standard 5.5 inch phone, one of the Redmi 5A's biggest pros is precisely its size, measuring just 5 inches, above the uncomfortable 4.5 inches and below the unmanageable 5.5 inches that most phones have these days. 

Of course, this is a subjective pro as quite a few people might see this as a con, however being able to manage the phone with just one hand is always a pro in our book.

Ram variants

Though we were quick to criticize the lack of more advanced internal storage options, we should also praise the fact that the phone packs both a version with 2 GB of RAM as well as a model with 3 GB of RAM. 

Though 2 GB might seem to be cutting it a bit close by general standards, we should consider that Qualcomm does a much better job at managing RAM then MediaTek and therefore, even the 2 GB option is good for a fluid overall performance.

A nice set of cameras

Xiaomi rarely disappoints when it comes down to its cameras. That said, this phone doesn't stand out in that department but it does not go as far as to disappoint. In that sense, we've got a 13-megapixel rear end shooter and a 5-megapixel front end camera

These aren't going to be the most sophisticated cameras nor will they compete against the iPhone X nor the Galaxy S8 in that department but they'll certainly get the job done, especially when under good lighting situations.

Comfortable grip and metallic manufacturing

One of the biggest improvements of the Redmi 5A over its predecessor come in terms of design and weight. In that regard, this phone weighs just shy of 140 grams and its metallic body provide a smoother more ergonomic feel that quite simply, feels lighter than its predecessor.

 Sure, for most people this isn't a deal breaker but when you're going to have this phone on your hand for a few hours a day I would say that good ergonomics should play a solid role in the decision-making process. 

A very comfortable price point

Finally, and perhaps one of the most influential advantages this phone has is the fact that it's priced very very well. Specifically, we can purchase the 2 GB variant for under 100 dollars at the time of this posting, even if we live outside of mainland China. 

Sure enough, the price might seem high when comparing to other phones but you should also consider the community behind Xiaomi which is quick to help you in case you have any problems, the fact that Xiaomi has become a global brand and of course the fact that you've got a Qualcomm processor instead of a run of the mill MediaTek CPU.

All these things contribute to making this phone more than affordable since you're not just buying a phone from a manufacturer no one knows but you're buying a phone from a huge company that is charging you far far less than most of its equally big competitors such as Motorola or LG.

Verdict; Is it worth the purchase?

Wrapping up this review of the pros and cons of the Xiaomi Redmi 5A, it's pretty clear to us that the verdict is "buy". Of course, every user will have a different set of needs and it's not for everyone. Those who seek a high end phone should look at the Xiaomi Mi6. However, for those who want a phone with a good processor, nice grip, a good set of cameras and a strong community behind it then the Xiaomi Redmi 5A is definitely the right call.


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